Welcome back to another edition of Cases For The Greatest here at the MWC Blog.
This is where I examine some of the wrestlers who are often viewed by some or many as the greatest pro wrestler of all time and why they have an argument in being so.
He needs no grand introductions other than he is The Best There Is. The Best There Was. The Best There Ever Will Be.
Ring Name: Bret Hart
From: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Weight: 235 lbs.
Trained by: Stu Hart
WWE Championship (5x)
WCW World Heavyweight Championship (2x)
WWE Intercontinental Championship (2x)
WWE United States Championship (1x)
WWE Tag-Team Championship (2x)
WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (4x)
WCW World Tag-Team Championship (1x)
Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship (6x)
WWE Royal Rumble Winner (1994)
WWE King of the Ring Winner (1991, 1993)
WWE Hall of Fame Inductee (Classes of 2006 & 2009)
5th Triple Crown Champion in WWE History
1976-1984 - Early years in Amateur and Stampede Wrestling.
1984-1991 - Tagged with his brother in-law Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart as The Hart Foundation.
February 7, 1987 - The Hart Foundation won their first WWF World Tag-Team Championship.
January 15, 1989 - Bret was the first ever entrant in the inaugural Royal Rumble match.
1991-1992 - Run as the WWF Intercontinental Champion.
October 12, 1992 - Defeated Ric Flair to become the WWF World Champion for the first time in his career, a title he would go on to hold four more times.
March 31, 1996 - Main evented WrestleMania 12 losing in a 60 minute iron man match against Shawn Michaels for the WWF World Title.
1996-1997 - Reunion of The Hart Foundation with added members Owen Hart, British Bulldog, and Brian Pillman. Also started feuding with Stone Cold.
November 9, 1997 - Date of the infamous "Montreal Screwjob" incident.
1997-2000 - Spent the rest of his career with WCW, winning their World Title twice and US Title four times.
December 9, 1999 - Bret sustained what would turn out to be a career ending concussion injury against Goldberg in the main event of Starrcade.
January 10, 2000 - Wrestled in his final match on WCW against Kevin Nash for the World Title.
2006 - Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame making his first return to the company since the screwjob.
2009-2010 - Brief in-ring return to the WWE. Feuding with Mr. McMahon and even winning the WWE US Championship.
2011-Present - Sporadic appearances for the WWE and other wrestling related events. Inducted once more to the HOF this year as a part of the Hart Foundation duo with Jim Neidhart.
The Excellence of Execution was certainly that. In his prime the only other wrestlers who could rival Bret Hart in his greatness inside the ring were the Four Heavenly Pillars of All Japan and even then their styles catered to different audiences. After the days of Hulkamania, WWF went into a "dark period" of sorts, seemingly unable to find the next top guy after failed experiments with the likes of Sid and Tom Magee. But what Vince McMahon would eventually find is not some roided up muscle guy who could only do 5 moves, but someone who is a master of his craft thanks to the legendary dynasty he grew up in. Enter Bret Hart.
One does not simply graduate from the Hart Dungeon and never find any form of success in wrestling. With his father being a certified Canadian legend and the rest of his brothers having careers of their own, the pressure was heavy on Bret to reach the success they've had but he was able to overcome said pressure and become even bigger than those who came before him and create his own legacy!
Whenever the term "technical wrestling" comes to mind the first person I always think of is Bret Hart. I know the style was already around way before him, but with Hogan being gone from the company, he was able to revive and popularize the style once more in a bigger audience thanks to his involvement with the WWF and show that pro wrestling can look competitive as well without much of the cartoony effects. Who knew that if you take wrestling seriously, then the people would take the product seriously as well?
Bret took pride in his style of wrestling and rightfully so. Just like I've mentioned in the Randy Savage article, Bret is meticulous when it comes to the step by step performance of his matches too. Plus he could easily adapt his style to whoever opponent he faces. His matches against Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold are the stuff of legends, but he can bring out the best out of anyone too! Just ask the aforementioned Tom Magee, who probably had the only good match of his entire career againt Bret Hart. Not even Japanese legends like Genichiro Tenryu can make the poor sap look good in the ring, but Bret was able to.
His style inspired a generation of wrestlers to come. You can say that the way most of wrestling is being served today, in a more "competitive" and "serious" nature you can thank Bret for bringing that style back and make wrestling feel like an actual sport. Whether you cheer or boo him, Bret made you believe with every proper execution of his maneuvers. Singles, tag-team, and even a battle royal, he took them all seriously. No matter the match type, only few can truly match Bret's greatness during the prime of his career, dare I say he was better than HBK. Because Shawn still had to rely on the dramatic effects if you will, and there's nothing against that, it's just all that Bret needs is to do his moves and the rest just flows.
While he may arguably be the greatest technical wrestler of all time, the knack for Bret is the lack of overall charisma. But even then it isn't that valid of a point as during the dark period like I've said of the WWF, he was able to bring them back up and carry the company on his back to success again, the fans really loved him especially in Canada where he is treated as a hero even when he acts as a heel! He may not have been the best on the mic, but in the end, for him what matters the most is the action inside the squared circle and that's where he delivers his best.
Not only did Bret put the WWF back on track but he gave prestige to the WWF World Title as well. He gave you an aura of what a true champion feels like similar to legends of the 70's like Harley Race and Bob Backlund. The Hitman had a similar vibe going for him and not many male wrestlers can rock the color pink as well as Bret does!
A fan of him or not, you can also never deny the strength Bret has, not only physically but especially emotionally. The man's been through a lot. From getting betrayed by the company he loyally worked and carried over the years, to losing his own brother, suffering a career ending injury, and now just recently beating cancer. There is no other man who had the will to get over it all and stand back up again. A testament that Bret isn't only a champion in wrestling, but a champion in life.
"The Best There Is. The Best There Was. The Best There Ever Will Be."
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The name is Super Mastodon. Been a wrestling fan throughout my life, and I share my interest with you here, at the MWC Blog.
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